The Self-Publishing Furor

November 19, 2015

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(This post originally appeared on the NaNoWriMo group on Facebook.)

My social reality person was actually good for a post today:
Write, don’t write. Publish, don’t publish. The furor.
It happens every year. Someone reposts the articles about why people should not write. Every year, there is a big fuss because every year there are new writers.
Those of us who have been writing for years and who self-publish LOVE new writers. We don’t fear competition because we don’t compete with each other. My biggest writing support comes from other writers. People like Jeffrey Cook, Renee Fournier, Ronnie Virdi, Erin Blair Roberts, and Ellie Mack (and so many more; I know I left names off!) have encouraged my writing journey and I try to encourage theirs. So when I see posts that say “You’re just afraid of competition when you tell us not to self-publish”, please understand that I was never competing in the first place. Indie writers work with each other, not against.
When I beg you not to publish before you’re ready, it’s not because I’m afraid someone will download your book and like it better than mine. Hurrah! Someone is reading and indie writers just got a new advocate. No, that’s the best case scenario. What I fear is someone will pay $2.99 for your work and you won’t have done enough work to justify that cost. They will read the book, hate it, and be prejudiced against indie authors because maybe, just maybe, we all don’t do our due diligence. I’m not worried about competition. I’m worried about the state of the industry in general.
There ARE a glut of books out there. There are books so truly terrible that I’m pretty sure my cat could write a better book, if she deigned to deal with such things. I’m not afraid of those books. Those books make me look FANTASTIC. However, maybe a lot of readers aren’t going to read my book– or Jeffrey’s– or Ronnie’s– or any other independent writer’s work because they just read $2.99 worth of vomit mixed with excrement.
Even if you’re doing this part-time (a lot of us have other jobs to pay the bills), be a professional. Use the Starbucks model, even if you don’t like Starbucks’ coffee. Expect to go in every day and relate to your customers. Expect to learn your product because, however many hours a week you put in at writing, you are a Professional Writer and should behave like one.
Anyone can– and SHOULD– write. Please write. Improve. Hone your craft if that’s what you want or just enjoy it as a hobby. But if you want to publish, please take the time to respect this profession for those of us who consider this more than a hobby.
Write away! Write with abandon! Then publish with an absolute sense of awe and wonder that you even have this right to foist your creation off on the world. Because if you don’t feel any of that responsibility, maybe it /doesn’t/ belong out in the great wide somewhere. Not yet.

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